“Humans are not evil – humans are not good – humans are just humans – a unique combination of both good and bad.” – What is Mind
In this talk, Abhijit Naskar discusses the age-old question – what is the nature of man? He starts off with the correction of the very term “man” referring to humanity.
What is Mind?, 2016
“Once you die, that’s it – game over. Death is the ultimate cessation of the individual Self.” – Principia Humanitas
In this talk, Abhijit Naskar discusses the primitive origin of the idea of reincarnation out of the lack of comprehension of death.
Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality, 2016
“All I want for Christmas is you” – this is the phrase that’s popping in my mind, like popcorn in the microwave oven as I sit down to write this piece on love. But I wonder, what can I tell you via this piece that has not been said or written before! Yes, tons and tons of words have been born throughout the world surrounding the word “love”, yet what I intend to point out to you is that most of those words have been born to address not love rather only the early stages of love, which are more connected to the temporary mental state of euphoria, crush and infatuation than the actual experience of lasting invincible love which does not wear off in time.
The cynics would say, there is no such thing as “lasting invincible love” – they would say it’s all mere impractical romanticism, whereas the people who have fallen in love quite recently would say “of course there is, and that’s exactly how I feel”. Yet, the truth is, both of these people are speculating based on their current subjective biases either towards the lack of love in their life, or towards the pleasure of the honeymoon phase. They are both speculating based on their internal chemical states. But we are now going to go beyond both these opposite extremes, and look at the big picture.
If you truly look you’d find out that love is rarely, or perhaps, not at all, floating around you – what’s really floating is the element of either subconscious or conscious anticipation of instant gratification masquerading quite gloriously as love. And that’s the reason, why all the love in the world, or at least most of it, wears off or becomes tiresome and boring after the individual gets used to the gratification of romantic, emotional and sexual significance. It’s not love my friend – it’s a business deal that ends at a certain moment in the future.
So, what is true love – not the illusory love everybody is obsessed with for centuries – but actual love – the love of immense psychological potential – the love that liberates the mind, and not binds it with shackles of insecurity and fear! Unfortunately the only available form of this liberating love can only be seen, not among romantic partners, but between a mother and her child – this is a love less conditioned, or at least, comparatively less conditioned than other forms of love available in the society.
Love your partner like you love your mother, and that love will never lose its fragrance. I am aware that this very statement might sound weird to some. But let’s think over it and go deeper into it. But for that you’d need to first put aside all your pre-conceived notions about love. If your cup is full with conformities, then it can no longer acquire true insight into a certain phenomenon. So, for the time being, let’s put the conformities aside, shall we! And let’s look at love, as if you and me both are newborn babies with no understanding of love whatsoever.
You love your mother not because she gives you any kind of instant sexual gratification but because you either consciously or subconsciously are biologically aware of the fact that she is the person who’s never going to leave you no matter what. It is imprinted in your genetics – your bond with your mother – a bond that is beyond the conformities of love, sexuality, beauty, attachment, trust and everything else. It is a bond beyond labels. And a bond which is beyond labels cannot be ruined by sociological conformities comprised of those labels. The love for your mother is the most natural form of love, whereas the love for your partner is hugely acquired through external stimuli. And a love that is fundamentally dependent on external stimuli is a love, which is more a kind of business deal than real love.
So, ask yourself this – in all the relationships that you have ever been in, have you ever truly loved the other person, or were you loving the person because you were receiving something from that person – don’t condemn yourself or judge your actions – simply ask. And if one loves another in anticipation of something in return, then that’s not love, it’s a radical business deal. And in today’s so-called civilized world, this business deal called “love”, greatly begins with the revealing of genitals to each other. Genital euphoria and gratification have hugely become the measure for love and romance.
But the point is, showing your vagina or penis is easy, but showing your soul is not. And your soul is really all you have. And you don’t really live with another person’s body, rather you live with his or her soul, for the physical attraction to the body wears off after a while in a relationship, but the attraction to the soul is permanent. And this permanence defines the quality and content of your life with another person. So be picky with revealing your soul to another, not because of a subtle consideration for separation, no matter how subtle, but because you want to have something solid and permanent, not lousy and shaky. Also, be picky, but not too picky, that your bond with the other person never begins in the first place.
So the bottom line is, focus on what’s within, not without, and within as in, not within the pants, but within the mind – within the soul. And just to be clear, the mind is the soul – but in some cases I prefer the term “soul” over “mind” because of its superior impact upon the human psyche. Make the content of the mind your measure for a relationship, and you shall find solace. And don’t just take my word for it, rather go out there and figure it out yourself – if you are really serious about it. Nevertheless, all I see around in the name of relationships, are some superficial ships of lust, euphoria and instant gratification, and not genuine vessels of strong, pure, internalized love.
In a society where physicality takes preference over the content of the psyche, relationships can only be pleasurable for merely a few years, or alas, months. And that’s why the countless “I do”s of the world have become merely a matter of valueless words of over-glorified principles, without the foundation of purity and awareness to begin with. Hence, before anyone could foresee and comprehend, the “I do”s become “I do not”s. So, be aware of the outside, but focus on the inside. And here I am not condemning physical attraction, rather I am saying be aware of the outside, but be more watchful of the inside than the outside.
On the inside, we are all indeed chemical beings, but if you see it strictly that way, you can never think, feel and behave beyond chemistry. In order to have a pure loving relationship with another person, you need to take a step beyond chemical satisfaction, then only, those chemicals will behave according to your will, thus giving you the power to build something truly original, something with an unshakable foundation. If you ask the Neuroscientist in me, what love is, then that image which you have imposed on me, would tell you that – love is all about chemical activity and ultimately reproduction. But if you ask me the human who uses science as his tool to unify humanity and to make them take a step forward in the path of collective psychological evolution, then I shall tell you – love is born of chemicals, but if it stays that way strictly, then humanity is soon bound to die internally due to dehydration, for love is water to the soul. Open your heart and let the water flow – don’t condemn it, don’t anticipate it – simply let it flow.
(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.)
“True Love is 20% Care, 80 % Understanding.” – Wise Mating: A Treatise on Monogamy
In this talk, Neuroscientist and Author Abhijit Naskar discusses the qualities of love and illuminates the nature of a healthy romantic relationship.
Wise Mating: A Treatise on Monogamy, 2017
I want you to do something today. I want you to get rid of all the things that you have heard about meditation so far – everything – all those things about focus, attention, sitting upright, closing your eyes, focusing on breathing, sound, this and that – everything – even the things that you have heard from me. Let’s try it shall we! Let’s start afresh. Let’s take a fresh look at meditation. What is Meditation? Forget everything you know about meditation and simply think. Meditation simply means – thinking over – to think over something – to put your whole attention on something without pressure – anything. That is the simplest explanation for meditation. Meditation is simply thinking over.
Today meditation has become a kind of hectic practice where you sit upright and do a lot of breathing exercises, this and that – and they call it Raja Yoga, Vipassana or something else. They need to call it that way, because this way they can keep it mystical. And the more they can keep it mystical, the more they can gain from it. Simplifying it doesn’t make the whole business of yoga, meditation and all that, profitable, does it!
So let’s simplify it, shall we! Meditation has been proposed as a means to psychological well being – and that means usually comes along with specific methodologies. The Buddhists have their Vipassana technique – the Hindus have their Kundalini nonsense. I am calling it nonsense because of all the mysticism it brings along. The mystical advocates of all that kundalini stuff, truly believe that there are actual energy centers throughout the human spine, and by unlocking them one could attain glorious spiritual potential. The Hindus also call this method of unlocking the kundalini centers of chakras, Raja Yoga, as if its something supreme, and not an ordinary mental state to be attained by an ordinary human. So, when the very practice of Raja Yoga proposes the notion, that it is something not ordinary, and basically unattainable without a teacher – that it is something higher than normal human practice, you naturally feel like you are supposed to go to an expert. This makes it profitable. Hence rises countless spiritual institutions upon the edifice of the primitive elements of human mysticism.
Now let’s throw all that mysticism away and look without judgement and preconceived mystical illusions of intellect. Meditation simply means focusing on something, thinking over something. Now the question is, do we need to sit upright and practise meditation the conventional way – closing our eyes, focusing on breathing or chanting or say Aum and going through a million other rituals! Is it necessary? Well, if it suits your taste then of course it’s okay – nobody is condemning it. It will bring you obvious health benefits, surely. But it’s only the way of the novice, also the most robotic way. Meditation means thinking over. But think over what? Do you have something to think over – something that you’d just think over, simply to take the pleasure from it – to simply be yourself in it – anything – a practice, a habit, a hobby, an idea, anything – something you can think over without any pressure of technicality, ritual or norms – that you can pay your whole attention to, simply because you love it, not because some great so-called guru tells you to practise it or some great scientist tells you to practise it! Do you have something like that – do you – anything – painting, writing, going out for a walk of contemplation, filmmaking, photography – any human activity that you can engage yourself in, without all the pressure that comes along with the very term “method”!
When you love doing something, there is no method, there is no risk, there is no fear, there is no insecurity of failure, there is just doing it. You just love it and do it. Often we also use the term “passion”, but I think, the word “passion” is a petty human attempt to justify the activity in front of the society. Why do you need to justify it! You simply love it and you do it. When you love it and do it, you are basically meditating upon it. And when the humans have something they love to do, and they do it, which means meditate upon it, they give a certain amount of time from their daily schedule to that activity, not out of pressure, not out of the insecurity of psychological obscurity, not out of a revolting attitude against the social norms, but simply to be themselves in that activity. When you do that on a daily basis, or find time to do that every now and then, every week, you are basically engaging your brain almost in the same manner as anybody else does in practising the conventional way of meditation – sitting upright, closing their eyes and focusing within. The brain functionings in both cases are basically similar – and they bring the same kind of inner emotional stability, same kind of inner content more importantly – basically the same kind of internal well being, which is sustained in the long run, if you can simply do what you love to do on a regular basis. This way your brain goes through a kind of unique refreshment – that basically is the product of meditation – the simplest meditation – meditation upon the activity that allows you to be you.
Meditation is a method-less act – an act of contemplation – an act of being. And this contemplation or this being is not a buddhist thing, a hindu thing or a jewish thing – it is simply a human thing. No pranayama, vipassana or kabala has any kind of exclusive authority over meditation whatsoever. All these ways are merely the means of the novice to begin the journey. But the means is not the real act itself. Seeing the method of meditation as meditation itself, is like confusing the menu for the meal. The real journey takes place when there is no means whatsoever – when the self does not need to make efforts to be the self – that’s real meditation – the meditation where you simply are who you are and do not seek methods to attain a superficial state of mind.
If you find something you love and make that your profession, then you’ll never need to practise the conventional meditation in your life, in order to be psychologically well, because your very profession would be the best meditation for you. If you don’t exactly have that dream profession, then simply taking time out from your daily schedule to do what you love to do, would still be a better meditation for you than the conventional one. And if none of these is an option for you, then you can resort to the conventional form of methodical meditation. The final call on this matter, would be made by nobody else but you. But bear in mind, kids meditate on things, the adults meditate on the self. Meditation on the self is the highest form of true method-less meditation, for it brings self-awareness – which is beyond the everyday joy and sorrow. True meditation does not put you in control of your sorrow, rather it takes your mind beyond that very sorrow, as well as joy, into the kingdom of contentment – a kingdom without ideology – without cognitive extremes, such as radical rationalism, radical romanticism or radical emotionalism. In that kingdom, you simply are a human, with no name, no nationality, no tradition, no culture, no religion, no gender and no social image – simply a human.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)
You don’t really get to the truth, you walk on it everyday.
A new talk discussing the nature of the so-called truth.
What is Mind?, 2016
“For self-educated scientists and thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Leonardo-da-Vinci, Michael Faraday, myself and many others, education is a relentless voyage of discovery. To us education is an everlasting quest for knowledge and wisdom.” – The Education Decree
In this talk, Abhijit Naskar discusses the nature of what you call Education, in context of modern human society.
The Education Decree, 2017